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SOFRECO is a highly international company in terms of its clients, its partners, the nationalities of its experts, its headquarters staff and its presence in numerous countries.

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Nutrition Laboratory Specialist, Afghanistan (Kabul)

Afghanistan (Kabul)
Technical assistance to Kabul Medical University and Ghazanfar Institute of Health Sciences to upgrade the nutrition curricula in the existing diplomas of health professionals and to create specific nutrition diplomas

Category:                     Senior
Location:                      Kabul                      
Duration         60 man-days (over 6 calendar months)

Background of the Project
The European Union in Afghanistan has recruited a Technical Assistance to Kabul University of Medical Sciences (KUMS) and Ghazanfar Institute of Health Sciences (GIHS) Kabul with the aim to provide technical assistance to upgrade the nutrition curricula in the existing diplomas of health professionals & to create specific nutrition diplomas in the said academic institutions. The overall objective of the project is to build the capacity of health professionals and training institutions to address malnutrition in Afghanistan. For these reasons project also want to help KUMS for establishing a basic nutrition lab to support teaching programmes and researches/lectures.

Rationale for establishing a Nutrition and Data basic Laboratory at KUMS Nutrition Department
Kabul University of Medical Sciences has requested a Nutrition Lab to be used for teaching and research for Nutrition Diploma and BSc students in the coming two years. In the Steering Committee meeting held on 5th November 2017 it was approved that only basic equipment for nutrition lab will be offered by the project and that other heavier equipment will be part of a new project.
The rationale of having this nutrition lab will be to enable the students to learn accurate measurement of nutrition anthropometry and validate and operate different nutrition interventions that will be run in hospitals, clinics and emergency programmes in the country. This will also help students gathering evidence based information to make appropriate decision for resource allocation and research. Figures and statistics gathered from researches conducted in this laboratory will be cornerstone of correct measurement for the country.
This lab will also be used as an archive of collected quality data from surveys and assessment. Upon completion of training from this lab, students can confidently be engaged in different hospitals and institutions for assignment in nutrition programme operations.
Lab sessions will complement the theory taught regarding different aspects of nutritional and anthropometric assessment, laboratory analysis of bio-chemical contents of most commonly suffered nutritional deficiencies of vitamin A, Vitamin C and D, Iron, Iodine, zinc and vitamin B complex, dietary analysis will be limited to only few items including identifying food toxins and available contents of amount of macronutrients in the initial phase, and include an evaluation of their strengths and limitations. The lab will provide development of practical skills and active application of tools and techniques used for assessment of nutritional status. However, with gradual increase of demands on nutrition research this will be expanded overtime. This may require further follow on projects decided by policy authorities in Afghanistan.

Overall objective of the assignment
The NKE will support KUMS for establishing a Nutrition and Data basic Laboratory. As KUMS nutrition Lab will be a main and important part of nutrition department and will welcome practical work and researches in nutrition conducted by students from all KUMS faculties. As a first step, the Lab will be a basic teaching lab but as it progress and the faculty of nutrition and dietetics established, other nutrition labs will be developed. Like all modern skill labs, the nutrition laboratory of KUMS will be a place for research and studying practical skill in nutritional field.
Note that at the outset of programme, although the lab programme activities will be limited to assessment and evaluation, nutrition anthropometry and data analysis for decision making, with advanced manpower, monetary and physical resources and continuous demand to improve, it will be possible to expand its capacities to enable conducting biochemical analysis including different parameters like plasma retinol, vitamin D, iodine. However, it will be not be required for preliminary interventions when programmes are limited to providing supports to hospitals, clinics and outreach of Kabul and regions.

Major tasks and responsibilities
The NKE will work generally on strategy improvement, improvement of SOPs and trainings of nutrition laboratory staff. The NKE will have the main task to provide technical assistance in support to the process of establishing a Nutrition and Data basic Laboratory at KUMS Nutrition Department. Precisely, the NKE will:

· Liaise with the Key Experts and the Technical Working Group for finalising the strategy for establishing a Nutrition and Data basic Laboratory at KUMS Nutrition Department;

· Propose and make approved a working plan;

· Coordinate with KUMS authorities and KUMS/ND staff, including:

o Selection of the most appropriate location/space for establishing this lab,
o Defining the type and scope of experimental and research activities expected to be implemented in the lab,
o Drafting associated local guidelines and SOPs;

· Advising the Technical Working Group on the minimum list of equipment required (also taking into account the budget available);

· Supporting and technically advising the KE team in the procurement of equipment;

· Working with the KUMS/ND staff for equipment commissioning;

• Training related KUMS laborant of Nutrition Lab. on Nutrition Lab local guidelines and SOPs, and in the use of the procured equipment.

Results to be achieved by the NKE

· KUMS Nutrition Lab is established with basic equipment;

• Empirical activities are conducted in the Nutrition Lab to support theoretical courses in Nutrition;


· The NKE will prepare an inception report by the end of the first week of his/her arrival in Kabul (including a strategy and workplan to perform his/her assignment);

· The NKE will produce a progress report for each mission in Kabul;

• The NKE will submit a final report by the end of his/her mission.

Line management
The NKE will be recruited by the Project and as such will be under the responsibility of the Key Experts 1 and 2. He/she will also refer to the technical working group.

Job Conditions

· The NKE will perform all its working days in Kabul spanned throughout the whole contractual period (number of travels to be defined according to the agreed strategy and workplan);

· While in Kabul, the NKE will be authorized to work only five days in a week (Thursdays and Fridays excluded, as well as local public holidays);

· In exceptional cases, the NKE may be requested to work irregular hours;

• Competitive salary and package according to experience.



Required qualifications and skills

  • Master degree in food technology or nutrition (with specialisation in microbiology or biochemistry or anthropometry);
  • At least 10 years' proven experience of work in nutrition laboratory (preferably in a medical university) as nutritionist or dietitian;
  • Excellent coordination and teaching skills;
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills;
  • Good knowledge of the English language both written and spoken, Dari would be an advantage.
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